Edge of Black - J.T. Ellison Having just read the first book in [a:J.T. Ellison|1311949|J.T. Ellison|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1254857757p2/1311949.jpg]'s Samantha Owens series, I was really glad that I had the ARC of the second book, [b:Edge of Black|15800763|Edge of Black|J.T. Ellison|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347975136s/15800763.jpg|20159899] to read next. In this book we find that Sam has sold her house and left her ME job in Nashville to move to DC and take a job as the head of the pathology department at George Washington University. As she begins her first teaching assignment during summer school, fate again intervenes. One of her students becomes ill and when Sam takes her to the hospital for treatment, she becomes involved in the investigation of an act of domestic terrorism.

The first Samantha Owens book that I read was the first book I had ever read by Ellison, and I found it fascinating. I had heard that the second book of the series was even better. Given how much I liked the first book, I found myself doubting that. They were right, though, this book is marginally better than [b:A Deeper Darkness|13261123|A Deeper Darkness|J.T. Ellison|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1329971124s/13261123.jpg|19214552]. The plot of this book was more to my liking. I love big, global conspiracies and a home grown domestic terrorism plot caught my attention immediately. The plot of this book seemed to flow just a bit better for me. As often happens in a series while the stories and characters progress, there is more focus on the plot and less time spent defining the main characters, their backgrounds, and the relationships between them.

I was ecstatic here to see that Ellison not only brought back Sam, but Xander was still a major player, as was DC Detective Fletcher. They were by far my three favorite characters from the first book. Once again, Xander is at the heart of this book's mystery. I would imagine that the author can't keep this up for more than a few books, but I am interested to see how she develops Xander's participation in the mystery solving collaboration of Detective Fletcher and Sam.

Along with these three, Ellison again populated this story with an interesting cast of supporting characters. My favorites in this story were Xander's hippie parents and the other inhabitants of the small town in Colorado where he grew up. Like his town nickname, Xander Moon, the people in the town are a wonderful mix of hippy and small town America. I really hope some of them continue to play a role in future books, especially his parents, and the Sheriff and his wife, who are high school friends of Xander's.

The next installment in this series can't appear quick enough for me.